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2014 European Ryder Cup Captaincy

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Darren Clarke or Paul McGinley

Time stands still for no-man, and only weeks after the close of the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah the difficult choice of choosing a new European Captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup has begun. It would appear that in the running for the new Captaincy are Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley.

Darren Clarke was quick to tweet he has not been offered the next European Ryder Cup captaincy in the wake of a newspaper report that said the job was his. But that didn't stop money pouring in on Clarke being appointed Jose Maria Olazabal's successor at Gleneagles in 2014.

The 2011 Open Champion is quoted as odds-on after a week in which his candidature was given a massive boost. First came the backing of his great friend and Europe's most experienced current player Lee Westwood. Then followed the report that the deal was already done. Even if it isn't, the fact that it has been reported this way makes it potentially harder for the Players' Committee to overlook the 44-year-old from Northern Ireland.

Westwood was surprisingly forthright and was prepared to highlight the fact that Clarke's achievements in the game are that bit greater than those of his main rival Paul McGinley. In the last couple of months Clarke has done everything right to make sure his name is in the frame.

He successfully distanced himself from his past criticisms of the Centenary Course at Gleneagles and has spoken repeatedly of what an honour it would be to lead his continent. Clarke was an inscrutable assistant to Olazabal at Medinah and like the other vice captains, McGinley included, made no effort to claim any of the glory from Europe's sensational last day comeback.

That was also a smart move and typical of the man. The extraordinary achievements of Chicago belong to the players and quite rightly Ian Poulter has been named European Tour player of the month for his astonishing contribution.

The Players' Committee are in no rush to make an appointment. The next captain was briefly discussed at the end of a meeting at St Andrews the week after the Ryder Cup. No vote or decision was taken, although it is fair to assume leading candidates have been sounded out in the wake of that gathering. It will next be formally discussed in the Middle East in January, probably in Abu Dhabi, with an announcement to follow a couple of weeks later at the Dubai Desert Classic

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